Carefully Evaluate Lifecycle Management When Choosing Mobile Devices for Healthcare

Carefully Evaluate Lifecycle Management When Choosing Mobile Devices for Healthcare

Product lifecycle is the key differentiator between consumer devices and healthcare enterprise mobile computers. Healthcare decision-makers need to factor in the true-life expectancy of devices used by their hospital clinicians/staff. There several variables for consideration that have a direct bearing on TCO.

Consumer devices have a much shorter timespan before they are supplanted by a brand-new model, whereas enterprise devices are designed to provide many years of service. According to VDC1, these devices have a 2 to 2.9 times failure rate greater than purpose-built medical-grade devices. Causes of failure include constant hazard exposures and disinfection requirements, hardware-specific (e.g., drops) failures, software and application failures, failures to network connectivity. The higher the failure rate, the larger the spare pool is required to mitigate lost productivity. 

Instead of deploying a healthcare enterprise device, some organizations choose consumer devices and budget accordingly for the shorter lifecycle. While this strategy eliminates the surprise of replacement costs, you would need to forecast device cost over a certain period to ensure a cost-competitive option vs. a healthcare enterprise device.

Even healthcare organizations that plan for a consumer device refresh – something they'd typically have to do twice as often as a rugged device – they often overlook the associated cost and disruption in device availability. The new devices must be purchased, shipped, stored, tested, configured, and more. Also, old devices must be returned. Experienced organizations may handle these efforts well, but they still bear the cost. It's also worth noting that once a device reaches the end of life (EOL), so will the spares and accessories available for it.

In addition to providing a much longer lifecycle, enterprise devices also have replacements, spares, and repairs factored into the design process. This helps ensure that the devices offer the maximum service time before replacement.

Honeywell mobile computers are based on the Mobility Edge™ Platform, a locked-down, integrated, HW-SW core that enables us to deliver rapid innovation across multiple form factors, best-in-class security, unbeaten product life and uninterrupted operating system support.  Users of Mobility Edge devices enjoy unbroken Android version continuity.

Mobile device repairs and spares. Every time devices need to be replaced due to breakage or failure, healthcare organizations incur costs and delays related to device configuration and deployment, in addition to the direct cost of purchasing the new device.

The higher the failure rate for a category of devices, the larger the spare pool the organization should keep on hand to mitigate lost productivity when devices fail. Adding to the spare pool adds to the overall acquisition cost, but not the per-unit acquisition cost, and thus may be overlooked in some cost comparisons.

Medical enterprise devices are designed to provide many years of service and have replacements, spares and repairs factored into the design process. This ensures that the device offers maximum service time before replacement.

It is important to note that healthcare enterprise devices are designed to be repairable. Manufacturers, like Honeywell, typically have mature service programs and infrastructures that can contractually commit them to quickly provide replacement devices and complete repairs in a timeframe that is acceptable to the organization buying the devices.

Backward Compatibility. Once consumer-grade devices have reached the end of life, there is no guarantee that the next model will provide backward compatibility for accessories and applications.  This means you can get a mix of devices, accessories.

Because Honeywell is focused on healthcare needs instead of consumer needs, when the next generation of devices is released, you can usually count on the backward compatibility with applications to accessories such as batteries, cables, cradles.  That means you can upgrade to the next generation of mobile technology and preserve your existing investments as possible. Healthcare enterprise devices are usually are available for an additional period of years once they are discontinued.

Honeywell is keenly aware of customers' desire to minimize unnecessary expense when refreshing hardware. For example, our Universal Dock system is designed to eliminate the need to replace accessories when migrating from current to future devices. The Universal Charge dock system for our CT40 HC and CT40 XP will be compatible with the following generation product that will replace it. The Universal Dock system is a family of chargers that can be field-upgraded by the end-user without tools to support multiple Honeywell field mobility computers.  This provides our customers with a significant reduction in TCO when using multiple Honeywell products in the present and over time. 

Support services are essential for lifecycle management. What happens when a mobile device fails? Can you get the same level of service for a consumer-grade device that you can for a medical-grade device? Once a healthcare enterprise procures an asset or service, they experience many mobile fleet management stages managed across various departments.

Many hospitals would have great difficulty offering a 24x7x365 support team with the needed breadth and knowledge depth.

At Honeywell, we support national, multinational or global enterprises with our world-class Managed Mobile Services with over 1.9+ million devices under managed agreement.  We have a birds-eye view regarding the pros and cons of how to best manage a mobile estate of varying complexities.  We have helped some customers reduce their network and mobile expenses by 20-30%. Our customers can realize a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) reduction of greater than 10%.

Honeywell believes that a managed mobile service provider needs to be able to support healthcare-liable devices as well as individual-liable BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) that employees use to access company resources and information. Support includes, for example, being able to:

·       Provide 24x7x365 help desk in multiple languages

·       Respond quickly to unplanned-for and cyclical changes in devices, operating system updates and related technologies.

·       Easily manage provisioning and deployment requirements for mobile devices across the enterprise.

When you consider MMS, you have to remember that it is more than just the service's cost; it also includes the hardware cost and the internal time and expenses related to managing the device estate.

A good service provider should provide a comprehensive solution customized to support hardware, operating systems, and applications, allowing you to tap into best practice knowledge and services.  This includes proven and dedicated resources to provide important services such as the following: 

·       Device deployment – Put devices in the hands of your employees quickly and securely

·       Helpdesk support – Get 24/7 customer-specific support for issue resolution and end-user service

·       Maintenance support – Ensuring devices are ready for mission-critical operations

·       Secure administration – Offload the day-to-day administration of your mobile device management (MDM) environment

·       Integrated intelligence – Get mobility intelligence to help better manage mobile devices.

An MSS provider can help you keep up with fluctuations in your healthcare institutions' and users' needs. The provider can provide a customer-centric support model that tailors their support options to align with your goals, objectives and requirements. When you outsource support to a quality provider, like Honeywell, you can expect a mobile service center to handle all your service needs because they support multiple enterprises and have the volume to provide a lower management cost per device.


At Honeywell, we focus on helping you provide high-quality patient care and supporting you in your patient-centered approach. This includes the latest technology that is purpose-built for the clinical environment. Together, with our strong partnerships with healthcare leaders, we're facilitating an ongoing technology evolution and redefining what's possible for healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes. We believe the most innovative technology knows how to stay out of your way, so you can focus on what's most important – delivering the best-in-class care your patients expect.

To learn how to help transform your patient care through the latest technology solutions, contact a Honeywell representative at 800-537-6945.


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1 VDC Research Group, Inc. | Enterprise Mobility, "Total Cost of Ownership Models for Line of Business Mobile Solutions," December 2018.

Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Industrial Automation. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.